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Road Funding Boost Welcome

01 July 2005 PR 101/05

Road Funding Boost Welcome

Federated Farmers of New Zealand welcomes a $276 million increase in land transport funding for the new financial year.

Land Transport New Zealand (LTNZ) said yesterday it had allocated $1.7 billion for land transport in the year ending June 2006.

“It’s encouraging that funding for total road construction will increase by $170 million to $662 million and that within that amount funding for the construction of local authority roads will increase by $51 million to $144 million,” said Charlie Pedersen, Vice President of Federated Farmers.

“It’s also good news that some rural state highway projects that have been on the backburner, like the Mangatawhiri Deviation, Ngarawahia Bypass, Bell Block Bypass, and the Awatere Bridge replacement, seem likely to be started this year.

"This is very positive work by the government. It is heading in the right direction by acknowledging that more needs to be spent on roads. We encourage it to continue in this direction," Mr Pedersen said.

However, Mr Pedersen expressed concern that the proportion of road users' funds spent on non-roading projects continues to rise.

“Spending on non-roading items such as walking and cycling, passenger transport, travel demand management, and rail and sea freight, jumps $80 million to $255 million, or from 12% to 15% of the total funding.

"Road users’ funds should be spent on roads. If the Government wants to fund these other activities for social or environmental reasons, then it should use other funding sources to do so.”

Mr Pedersen said he looks forward to further announcements on road funding over coming months when proceeds from a $500 million tax windfall are allocated.

"Farmers hope the government uses the extra money to boost funding for LTNZ to help councils pay for local roads and lighten the burden on rate payers."


ENDS

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